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New Czech PM pledges successful completion of EU presidency
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22:00, May 12, 2009

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New Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer on Tuesday pledged a successful completion of his country's six-month European Union presidency.

"I can assure you that the Czech Republic is extremely serious about completing our presidency successfully. It is a priority for our government and I will do my best," Fischer told reporters after meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Fischer said all guarantees are in place for a successful completion of the Czech EU presidency.

The Czech prime minister stressed the importance of preparations for an EU summit in mid-June, which will tackle the re-run of an Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, the international economic crisis and a global climate change deal in Copenhagen at year's end.

Concerning transitional institutional arrangements, Fischer said his country supports "the candidature of Barroso for another term as head of the European Commission."

Fischer said, however, that no decision has been made on if he or Czech President Vaclav Klaus will chair the June summit. Fischer took over halfway into the EU presidency from former CzechPrime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who chaired the spring EU summit before losing a parliamentary confidence vote.

Barroso expressed the hope that euroskeptic Klaus would sign the Lisbon Treaty as soon as possible so that the ratification process in the Czech Republic can be completed.

Fischer said he personally wished for a successful completion of the ratification process, but that it was up to Klaus to decide when to sign the treaty because there is no deadline under the Czech constitution.

Both chambers of the Czech parliament have approved the treaty, which is necessary for EU's institutional reforms. Klaus, however, has indicated he would delay the ratification process as long as possible.

Apart from Ireland, which rejected the treaty in a June 2008 referendum, the Czech Republic is the only EU member state that has not completed its ratification process.

The Lisbon Treaty needs to be ratified by all 27 member states to enter into force. A second referendum is planned in November in Ireland.

Source: Xinhua

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